Bibliography & Reference Guide to Benson Bowl Style Routines

              Benson By Starlight
Image courtesy The Miracle Factory

Compiled by Doug Atkinson (email:

Last update: Jun 2023 added Trevor Lewis ESOLC book.
Dec 2022: Added Aldo Colombini's DVD of Fred Kaps Chinese Chow routine
Jan 2020. Books: Doug Anderson's Drive 'em Nuts; Anderson, Gene and Frances I. Marshall: Newspaper Magic; Mike Caveney Wonders; Cornelius, John: Creative Secrets No. 1; Crichton, Knox: Magic Magoria The Magic of the Magi; Mertz, Ray: Lecture #4; added the three editions of The Tomato Trick - Michael Landes (translator) & Medjid K. Rezvani: The Cushions of the Princess; Sardina, M.: The Magic of Rezvani; and Rezvani, Medjid K.: Les Coussinets de la Princesse ; Swiss, Jamy Ian: The Magic of Johnny Thompson
Magazines: Max Andrews Wooly Balls routine in The Magic Magazine; David Ben's tribute to Ross Bertram in Genii;
DVDs: Magic Makers Inc. Spongeballs DVD.
Products: Added Roger Reeves' Benson Bowl (thanks Michael!); Brett Sherwood's Benson Bowl.

I used to combine the Benson Bowl style routines with the Chop Cup & Single Cup routines, but I think there are enough references to make a separate category. Also, the moves used in a Benson Bowl routine are usually quite different than most of the Chop Cup moves. The Benson Bowl routine was made famous by Roy Benson.

The following is a partial list of books, videos, and products for Benson Bowl style routines and products. Any prices listed are just estimates based on old and new references and are not likely to be accurate. They are provided only as a general benchmark.

Please note that none of these items are for sale from this website. This listing is provided for informational purposes only and many of these items listed here are likely to be no longer available.


Alan, Don: Pretty Sneaky. 1956, softcover, Ireland Magic, 48 pages. Includes Bowl or Cup Load: a silk production ending for bowl or cups & balls routine using a paper napkin (originally designed for Don's Bowl routine)

Anderson, Doug: Drive'Em Nuts. 1984, 21 pages. Includes Sponges in Bowl: Doug's version of the Benson Bowl routine for table-hopping

Anderson, Gene and Frances I. Marshall: Newspaper Magic. 1968 Magic Inc. Includes how to fold the Pressman's Hat; William Myers states that he uses a Pressman's Hat for the Don Alan Bowl Routine.

Anderson, George: Magic Digest. 1972, 288 pages. Includes The Sponge Balls: a sponge multiplies in the spectator's hand, then appears under a cup in a Benson-bowl type routine

Behnke, Leo: Magic City Library of Magic Volume 9 Sponge Balls. 1991, softcover, Magic City, 32 pages. Includes A Bowl Routine on page 12.

Benson, Roy: Benson on Magic. 1972, softcover, 23 pages. Lecture notes includes Roy Benson's Ball and Bowl Routine.

Biro, Pete: The Tomato Trick. As performed by Rezvani. Similar to Benson Bowl routine, using red sponge balls instead of tomatoes. Includes a reprint of Rezvani's routine with notes by Pete.

Biro, Pete: BOWLing With The Stars. Softcover. Ideas and routines with the Bowl, from Roy Benson, Johnny Thompson, Shigeo Takagi, Albert Goshman, Don Alan and Rezvani. Including a Johnny Thompson routine and Pete's version using a rubber Plumber's Helper.

Caveny, Mike: Magicomedy 1981, hardcover, Magical Publications, 171 pages. Includes Benson Plunger, a Benson Bowl routine using a toilet bowl plunger & sponge balls (I'd recommend not using a used plunger!)

Caveney, Mike: Mike Caveney Wonders (Vol 1); 2013, 456 pages. Includes The Benson Plunger routine.

Cornelius, John: Creative Secrets No. 1. 1988. Includes John's Bowl Routine Cake Production

Crichton, Knox: Magic Magoria The Magic of the Magi. 1978 Supreme Magic, 167 pages. Includes Spongeball Pinch by Trevor Dawson, a description of the pinch vanish as used in Benson Bowl routines

Edwards, Doug: Nukes. Hardcover, 154 pages. Non card magic, "includes a critical detail in Roy Benson's legendary "Benson Bowl" routine that has never been discussed publicly"

Elliot, Bruce: Classic Secrets of Magic. 1953, 266 pages. This book contains lots of great instruction and includes a full description of Roy Benson's Benson Bowl routine.

Ferri, D. Angelo: Don Alan Tribute. 2005, 31 page eBook with Video Clips. Available from Includes a reworking of Don Alan's Chop Cup, Benson Bowl, and Bag Stabbed card stab.

Ganson, Lewis: The Art of Close Up Volume 1. 1969, hardcover, L&L Publishing (reprint), 401 pages. Includes Chinese Chow (Fred Kaps): Inspired by the Roy Benson's Bowl routine and Senator Crandall's Cups and Balls (from Tarbell's course). A routine using a Chinese bowl, a chopstick wand, and four sponge balls, with a lemon and orange climax. And also: Rice Bowls and Balls (Phoa Yan Tong): Another Bowl and Sponge ball routine with rubber ball climax.

Garcia, Frank: The Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic. 1976. Includes Sometimes, Frank's bowl routine.

Giobbi, Roberto: 2 Stand-Up Routines. 1987, softcover, 24 pages. Includes The Sponge and Bowl Routine.

Harris, Paul: Paul Harris Reveals Some of His Most Intimate Secrets. 1976, softcover, Rainbow Magic Machine. Includes The Super Bowl by Patrick Snowden--A Benson Bowl style routine involving bowl, wand, four red sponge balls, one black, and one large load for the climax.

Jensen, Jon: Professional Sponge Ball Tricks Volume 2: 2000, softcover, Murphy's Magic. Contains 13 complete routines including: The Benson Bowl Routine.

Joro, Bruno Hennig: Joros Schwamm Ball Becher Spiel (In German). 1976 (circa), softcover, Joro, 3 pages. a spongeball Benson Bowl routine. (entry courtesy Dietrick Keller at

Kaps, Fred: It's So Simple. 1986. Magic Circle lecture on audio tape. Includes Chinese Bowl and Chopstick Move

Kaufman, Richard: Paul Gertner's Steel and Silver. 1994, hardcover, Kaufman & Greenberg, 213 pages. Many excellent routines including: Triple Die-lemma, a routine with dice which climaxes with progressively larger dice being produced (final load is four inches square). Based on Roy Benson Bowl Routine and includes "Two-in-the-hand, One-in-the-pocket" phase.

Michael Landes (translator) & Medjid K. Rezvani: The Cushions of the Princess: or the Tomato Game. A translation and reformatting of Les Coussinets de la Princesse by Medjid K. Rezvani available from

Lewis, Trevor: ESOLC (That's Close Up). 98pg paper 1981. Includes Benson Bowl routine

Levent and Todd Kar: Roy Benson by Starlight. 2006, hardcover, The Miracle Factory, 800 pages. Routines include the Benson Bowl Routine.

Lorayne, Harry: Apocalypse Volumes 11-15. 2001, hardcover, L&L Publishers, 719 pages. Includes Chopsticks and Sponges (Alexander De Cova): a sponge ball steal using chopsticks for use in a Benson Bowl routine (page 1755)

Marcom, Ralph A.: Marcom Presents Magic. 1979, softcover, Magic, Inc. Original routines with macabre themes. Includes Keeping Abreast - a Benson-Bowl and Four Sponges routine with an "adult" ending;

Mendoza, John: The Book of John. 1978, softcover, John Mendoza, 140 pages. Includes The Bowl Routine.

Mertz, Ray: Lecture #4. 1991c, 43 pages. Includes The Karl Norman Bowl Routine

Norton, Coe: Lecture Notes. 1972, softcover, Magic, Inc., 16 pages. The Bowl The Balls and the Wand: a sort-of multiplying balls with sponge balls (page 11)

Page, Patrick: Magic by Gosh: Life and Times of Albert Goshman. 1985, hardcover, Albert Goshman. Includes the A.G. Benson Bowl Routine, and much more.

Page, Patrick: Patrick's Pages of Magic. 1976, softcover, Magic, Inc., 33 pages. Includes Tambo Tambo: using a tamborine in a Benson Bowl routine (page 3)

Pierce, Lance: Magic of John Cornelius. 2001, hardcover, L&L Publishing, 181 pages. Includes John's The Ball, the Bowl, and the Big, Big, Cake - a Benson Bowl routine for the stage with a production finish.

Pierce, Lance: The World-Famous Bowl Routine. 2005, Lance Pierce, 89 pages. This routine begins as a Bill in Lemon routine, which segues into the Benson Bowl Routine with a lemon production finale (wherein the bill is found). Also includes "Sponge!" commercial sponge ball routine.

Poland, Ellison: Wonderful Routines of Magic. 1969, hardcover, Poland, 245 pages. Includes Black's Bowl Routine, a Benson Bowl style routine using sponges, a shallow brass bowl, and a final load.

Racherbaumer, Jon: In a Class By Himself, The Legacy of Don Alan. 2000, hardcover, L&L Publishing, 296 pages. A broad collection of the magic of Don Alan. Includes Lean Mean Chop Cup, and Benson Bowl.

Rezvani, Medjid K.: Les Coussinets de la Princesse.  Original version of The Tomato Trick.

Rix, Claude: Claude Rix Presents Original Close Up Routines. 1980s, softcover, I Saw That!, 30 pages. Includes Le Jeu Des Tomates (The Tomato Game): Benson bowl type routine with two bowls (page 22)

Sardina, M.: The Magic of Rezvani, 1949, 89 pages, 6x9", Saint Rafael House. This is an English Translation of LA MAGIE DU SORCIER. Translated from the French by Dariel Fitzkee. Includes the Tomato Trick.
Stone, Tom: Vortex. 2010, hardcover, Hermetic Press, 270 Pages. Includes Benson Burner, which transforms "Benson's Bowl" into a striking stage piece with a visually stunning final production

Swiss, Jamy Ian The Magic of Johnny Thompson. 2018 Magicana; 663 pages. Includes Johnny's Benson Bowl routine

Thompson, John: Polished Polish Prestidigitation 1981, softcover, Busby Magic. Includes Benson Bowl, Benson's Bowl, John Thompson's professional handling and presentation of Roy Benson's classic 'Bowl Routine'

Thompson, J.G.: Top Secrets of Magic. 1956, softcover, Tannen Magic, 125 pages. Includes a section on Cups & Balls with three routines, one using gimmicked paper cups and minimal sleights, one using standard cups, and some ending moves for the Benson Bowl routine

Tong, Dan: Dan Tong's Restaurant & Table Magic. 1970, softcover, Tong, 18 pages. Includes Bills & Bowl, A Benson Bowl style effect with wadded bills, a Chopstick, and a small bowl

Trickshop: Benson Bowl Routine. 2005, e-Book, Uses an ungimmicked bowl and sponges. Entire routine requires just one, easy-to-learn move (Roy Benson's "retention of vision" vanish). Manuscript includes Background, Overview of Roy Benson's Routine, Properties, The Benson Sponge Move, Set-up, Performance and more. 

Wheeler, Alan: Magic Presentations - One Bowl, Two Cups, Three Coins. 2008; 7 page eBook (available from includes A Sponge Balls and Bowl Routine, Two Cup Routine, and Two Copper One Silver routine.

Willmarth, Phil: Trevor Lewis ESOLC (That's Close Up). 1981 softcover, Standridge Magic, 98 pages. Includes: Tervor's Benson Bowl Routine: with bowl, 4 sponges, and toy plastic dinner roll

Woo, Andrew: Illuminating Ideas. eBook, 73 pages. Includes Benson Bowl Tribute - using a Shrimp Serving Bowl.


Andrews, Max: The Three Ball Trick. The Magic Magazine, V1 N6, Sep 1952; a routine using three "woolly balls" and three tin bowls; uses a "Benson Bowl" type move to transpose balls from under one bowl to another

Benson, Roy
: It's Magic; The Phoenix No. 156, 30 July 1948. Benson Bowl Routine described

Bertram, Ross & David Ben: The Benson Bowl Revisited. Genii Vol 66 No. 03, March 2003. Illustrated Benson Bowl routine.

Cannon, P.H.: Lessons in Magic IX. First appearing in Our Young Folks magazine, April, 1867, and reprinted in The Sphinx, Nov 1921. A simple bowl-type trick using acorns and a hat.

Cornelius, John: The Ball, the Bowl and the Big Big Cake. The Linking Ring Vol 73 No. 05, May 1993. Climax for a Benson Bowl routine with construction details.

deCova, Alexander: Chopsticks and Sponges; Apocalypse Vol 11-15.

Ganson, Lewis & Fred Kaps: A Magician Explains Magic From the International Congress, Amsterdam, Part One. The Gen, October 1955. Vol. 11; No. 6. Fred Kaps' Chinese Bowl and Chopstick routine, photo illustrated.

Martin, Harold: Idea for Don Alan Bowl Routine; The Linking Ring, Vol 44 No. 11, Nov 1964. Idea for a silk load rather than the Bagel for the climax.

Thompson, J.G., Jr.: Bowl Loading Technique; M-U-M Vol 46 No. 04 Sep 1956. Reprint of Thompson's Top Secrets of Magic, Chapter 10 on Cups and Balls, includes a method for loading the last ball for the Benson Bowl routine.

Tiong, Phoa Yan: Rice Bowl and Balls, The Gen, Sept 1958. Vol. 14; No. 5.


Alan, Don: Greater Magic V28. 1988 (VHS Stevens Magic Emporium), 2004 (DVD, Twin Cities Magic). Includes Don Alan's Bowl routine

Colombini, Aldo: Fred Kap's Chinese Chow. 2014 DVD. Part of Aldo Colombini's Tribute Series, performed by Cameron Francis. Routine originally found in Lewis Ganson's Art of Close Up Magic Vol 1.

Conjuror Community: SuperBowl. Streaming Course. Conjuror Community provides a 10 online video training plan covering their approach to the Benson Bowl.

Cornelius, John: Creative Magic. DVD. 85 minutes. Includes Sponge Bowl.

Dacri, Steve: The Magic of Steve Darci - No Filler, Volume 3. DVD, L&L Publishing, 2006. Includes Bowl Routine with some Dacri touches.

Daryl: Master Course Sponge Balls, Vol 3. DVD. Includes Benson Bowl Routine.

De Cova, Alexander: Treasures Vol 2: Blank Cheque Transpo, Chopstick Vanish (improvements on classic Benson bowl routine), and more.

Dill, Dean: 3-Dean Trilogy Volume 2. DVD includes Jamie's Trick, which uses 3 balls, a spoon, a coffee cup and a saucer in a sort of chop cup, Benson bowl, sponge routine. 

Francis, Cameron: Chinese Chow, The Aldo Colombini Tribute Series. DVD, 2014, Colombini Magic. Aldo Colombini's presentation of Fred Kaps' Chinese Chow, which originally appeared in Lewis Ganson's the Art of Close Up Magic Volume 1. Ends with a fruit production.

Giobbi, Roberto
: Taped Live at the 7th British Close Up Magic Symposium. 112min. Wild Business, The Peek, Master Grip, Miracle Prediction, Card to Wallet, Sponge Ball and Bowl Routine, LePaul Envelope Nest

Goshman, Albert: Albert Goshman Live at the Kennedy DVD-R, Meir-Yedid Magic; DVD by International Magic. From 1985. Performance only of: Salt Shaker, Sponge Balls, Coins Through Table, Chink-A-Chink, Nudist Deck, Benson Bowl, Rising Card.

Magic Makers Inc.: Magic Tricks You Can Master - Spongeballs. DVD. Includes a Benson Bowl routine.

McBride, Jeff: Squeak Technique. DVD, 2012, McBride Magic. Includes Bravo! A Squeaky Clean Ball and Bowl Routine.

Mendoza, John: My Best Volume 2. DVD, L&L Publishing. Bowl Routine, Roy Benson routine with an in-the-spectator's hands portion

Page, Patrick
: Secret Seminars of Magic Volume 5: Sponge Balls DVD. Sponge ball vanishes, productions, color changes, Benson Bowl routine, Professional routine, and more.

Ray, Eddie: The Complete Course in Cups and Balls Magic. DVD, Magic Makers. 2 Volume set. Includes Roy Benson Bowl Routine, and Props Used For Routine.

Schneider, Al: Al Schneider Cups and Balls. DVD L&L Publishing. 1 Hour, 40 minutes. Includes 3X4 Bowl Routine - The goal of this experiment was to take single bowl routines not only to the next level but to the extreme. The name of the game is rapid repetition featuring just about every effect possible with sponge balls. They disappear, reappear, penetrate up and down...and they do it extremely fast. There are fourteen...yes, fourteen...separate magical occurrences in this one routine.

Thompson, Johnny: Commercial Classics of Magic V1. Includes Johnny's Benson's Bowl Routine along with much more

Tomosini, The Great: Greater Magic V21. Stage Act performance, Roy Benson Bowl Routine

Tong, Danny: Dan Tong Finally Volume I includes: Bill & Bowls, a Benson bowl routine with borrowed bills and a sugar bowl

Various: World's Greatest Magic Close Up Magic Volume 3. DVD. L&L Publishing. Includes John Mendoza's Bowl Routine and Larry Jennings' Single Cup and Ball

Various: World's Greatest Magic - Sponge Balls. DVD; L&L Publishing. Includes Johnny Thompson's Benson's Bowl Routine and Frank Garcia's routine.


Note:  as the Benson Bowl is not typically gimmicked, you can usually pick up suitable bowls from kitchen gadget departments.

Alan, Don: Don Alan Bowl Routine. 1953 Marketed Item.

Dacri, Steve
: Steve Dacri's Spongeball Toolbox & DVD. Goshman Magic. Comes with props and an instructional DVD, and includes a Benson Bowl routine.

Hansen, Eric: Birch Burl Benson Bowl. With Chop Cup feature. I believe Eric has turned several different bowls over the years; available in very limited quantities. Benson Bowl: I'm not sure who makes this wooden bowl, but I found it listed over at (Netherlands). Comes with the bowl, sponges, and instructions.

Marshall, Steve & Alan Wong: Ben-San's Bowl. An oriental variation of the Benson Bowl done with a Japanese rice bowl, a pair of chopsticks, and Alan Wong's sponge sushi.

Reeves, Roger: Benson Bowl & Spongeball Routine (with DVD). Dancing Spring Magic. Comes with metal bowl, the "Growing Ball", 4x1.5 inch sponge balls, a 34 inch multi-colored thumb tip streamer, purse frame, thumb tip, and DVD. The DVD is a DVD-R so may not play in all machines.

RNT2: Benson Bowl. Available in 24kt Gold, Brass, Copper/Chrome, Copper/Nickel, Copper/Mirror. Each some with sponge balls, the Don Alan routine, and a Velour carrying bag.

Sherwood Magic. Brett Sherwood's Benson Bowl. From the website: "This bowl is predesigned inside a form and then each .925 solid silver bowl is slowly hammered into the form to create the gorgeous 3D floral patterns seen inside the bowl. Next the bowl is oxidized black and then professionally polished to reveal a sparkling array of 3D floral patterns inside the bowl."

Viking Magic: Chop Bowl - Imperial. Collector's Workshop Imperial Chop Bowl is made from a real rice bowl, kiln-fired with a red exterior and an ink-black interior.

Viking Manufacturing: Wooden Benson Bowl/Chop Cup Set. A Chopped wooden Benson Bowl along with sponge balls and an imitation doughnut.

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